WASHINGTON, April 30 (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas finished what LeBron James started.

Arenas scored 20 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter as the Washington Wizards rallied for a 106-96 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers to even their Eastern Conference first-round series at two games apiece.

NBA TV highlights from
Press Conference: Play
Antawn Jamison added 22 points and Caron Butler 21 for the fifth-seeded Wizards, who came out lethargic and trailed by as many as 13 points early in the third quarter before rallying behind Arenas.

Arenas was a major reason why the Wizards got off to a slow start as he scored just six points on 1-of-9 shooting in the first half.

"Nothing was falling for me but I stuck in there playing defense and tried to get my hand on loose ball - just trying to stay in the game," Arenas said. "In the fourth quarter, I just had it rolling."

Coming off a 41-point effort - an NBA record for most postseason points in a road debut - James got off to another sizzling start, making four 3-pointers and scoring 18 points in the first quarter. The 21-year-old phenom had 25 by the half, helping the Cavs open a 57-46 advantage.

However, things took a drastic turn in the second half, when Arenas came alive and James went silent for a long stretch.

"They switched their defense up and started running Gilbert Arenas at me so I didn't want to force anything," James said. "I gave the ball up and we just missed some open shots."

"It seems like they tried to take my aggressiveness away. I've probably been called for more offensive fouls in this series than in all 82 games combined. I think they want me to settle for my outside shot, but I have to keep being aggressive because that's the type of player that I am and that's the way I am going to help my team win ballgames."

Arenas scored eight points in the third quarter, with his 3-pointer bringing the Wizards within 72-69 at the 1:33 mark. After Jared Jeffries split two free throws, Arenas sank two foul shots with under a second left to tie the game heading into the final period.

"When Gilbert gets going, we all feed off him," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "I decided I was not going to call any plays to start the second half. Our guys know how to play. We focused mostly on the passing game, using our pick-and-rolls and moving the basketball. This is how we got it going."

Still just 3-of-14 from the floor through three quarters, Arenas answered James' 3-pointer 18 seconds into the fourth quarter with one his own to tie the game at 75-75. James' basket was his first points in more than 15 minutes since late in the second quarter.

"In the third quarter we weren't executing the way we had planned to and it showed," Cavaliers guard Larry Hughes said. "We lost the game in the third quarter no matter what calls were made. Those eight minutes in the third quarter hurt us."

Jamison drilled a jumper with 11 minutes remaining to trigger a 15-5 surge that gave the Wizards the lead for good. Arenas scored the last eight points of the burst, capped by two free throws at the 6:13 mark to give Washington a 90-80 advantage.

"When the fourth quarter comes around, it's time for Gilbert to do what Gilbert does, and that's to either create a shot for himself or get in there and create for other people," Wizards reserve guard Antonio Daniels said. "Just because he struggled with his shot he did an excellent job of getting to the free-throw line and making teams pay that way."

The Cavs cut the deficit to 91-86 with 3:57 left on a basket by Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who scored 13 points. But Arenas made two free throws and a 3-pointer as the Wizards rebuilt the lead to 96-87 with 3:21 to go.

Arenas made 8-of-20 shots overall and went 14-of-17 from the free-throw line.

After James drilled a 3-pointer, Butler hit two foul shots and a jumper which gave Washington control for good.

"Antawn (Jamison) kept us in there, Jared (Jeffries) kept us in there, and Antonio (Daniels) kept us in there," Arenas said. "They did a great job, but we just hung around until Caron (Butler) and I came around. Caron hit big shots in the fourth quarter. He played tough defense and got key rebounds. We didn't let them get second-chance points."

James finished with 38 points on 13-of-23 shooting for fourth-seeded Cleveland, which heads home for Game 5 on Wednesday.

"It's going to be a good series," James said. "They're at home and they did a great job of locking us down in the third quarter which put them back in the game. They just took advantage of us in the second half. Gilbert Arenas was able to attack us and get to the free-throw line, which allowed them to feel comfortable about themselves and get to the line without time winding off the clock when they were down."

Ronald Murray added 19 points for the Cavs, who shot 50 percent (34-of-68) but committed 23 turnovers that led to 27 points for the Wizards.

"Out of our (23) turnovers, it seemed like 10 to 12 of those were offensive fouls," James said. "We have to be able to control our turnovers and keep getting better."

Washington shot 42 percent (33-of-78) but committed just 11 turnovers.